Biography of Hon. James Patton, Q. C.

The subject of this notice, youngest son of the late Major Patton, 45th Regiment, was born at Prescott, Ont., June 10, 1824. Removing to Toronto in 1830, he was educated at U. C. College, and in 1840 entered the law office of the late Hon. J. Hillyard Cameron at that time in partnership with the present Chancellor Spragge. In 1843, on the opening of King’s College (now the University of Toronto), he matriculated in arts, but graduated in law; and in 1858 took the degree of LL.D. Called to the Bar in 1845, he settled in Barrie, the county town of Simcoe, and in a few years acquired an extensive business. In 1852 he started and for several years was proprietor and editor of the Barrie Herald, it and the Barrie Magnet Reform, being the only papers north of Toronto, while now there are between thirty and forty; the same year published the Canadian Constables’ Assistant, and in 1855 was one of the founders and editors of the Upper Canada Law Journal. In 1859 he was elected a Bencher of the Law Society, and, having been Solicitor-General, is a life Bencher, by statute, In 1862 he was created a Queen’s Counsel. In 1853 he took into partnership Mr. Hewitt Bernard, and the year following the late Mr. Sidney Cosens. In 1857 Mr. Wm. D. Ardagh also became a partner the Barrie firm changing to Patton and Ardagh in 1858, on Mr. Bernard’s appointment as Deputy Minister of Justice.

In 1860 he opened a branch office in Toronto, and the year following was joined by a former pupil, Mr. Featherston Osler, now Judge of the Common Pleas, and subsequently by Mr. Thomas Moss, now Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals the firm of Patton, Osler and Moss obtaining a prominent position. In 1864, having been invited by Sir John A. Macdonald to take charge of his large business, he left for Kingston, but returned in 1872 on the removal of the Trust and Loan Company’s office to Toronto-Messrs. Macdonald and Patton being the company’s solicitors. This partnership continued until 1878, when he accepted the position of general manager of an Edinburgh loan company. The English and Scottish Investment Company of Canada and retired from the active practice of the profession in which be had been engaged 33 years.

When the Legislative Council, now the Senate, was made an elective body in 1856, and Upper and Lower Canada mapped out into 48 electoral divisions, with twelve members elected every two years, Mr. Patton was one of the six returned that year for what is now Ontario, and the first representative of the group of counties consisting of Grey, Bruce and North Simcoe, known as the Saugeen Division the other five being the Hon. John Simpson, and the late Edmund Murney, Dr. Harmanus Smith, Judge Prince, and Chancellor Vankoughnet. In 1862 he became a member of the Cartier-Macdonald Ministry, with a seat in the Executive Council (now the Privy Council), and Solicitor-General for Upper Canada. Sir John A. Macdonald being Attorney-General but was defeated when seeking re-election. With the fall of the Government, a few weeks later, he retired from public life. While in Parliament he carried through, among other measures, the Debenture Registration Act, and the Act which has elevated the status of Attorneys by requiring the passage of examinations in addition to the mere service under articles; also amendments of the Grand Jury law; but was unsuccessful in attempting to introduce the Scottish system of doing away with the required unanimity of twelve jurors, the Bill, though passed by large majorities in four consecutive sessions, being invariably voted down in the Commons.

He assisted in the formation of “The University Association,” and was its President for several years holding the office until his election as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Toronto. From 1860 to 1864 he was Vice-Chancellor, and was succeeded by the Hon. Adam Crooks, now Minister of Education, but is still an ex-officio member of the Senate. In 1861-2 he was Chairman of the University Commission issued by the Crown.

In 1853 he married Martha Marietta, the eldest daughter of Alfred Hooker, Esq., of Prescott.



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